Nuestra Iniciativa - February 2014 Issue

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Nuestra Iniciativa HeaderFebruary 2014 Issue

"The America we want for our kids—a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us—none of it is easy. But if we work together, if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today, but our eyes cast towards tomorrow—I know it's within our reach." - President Barack Obama, 2014 State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014

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President Obama and State of the Union

The Road to Opportunity: Education and the State of the Union 

On January 28th, President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address where he reinforced the message that education plays an important role in our country. Among the education topics he addressed were making high-quality preschool available to every 4-year old, connecting 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband, redesigning high schools to offer more hands-on training and increasing college opportunity.   

For decades, First Ladies have invited extraordinary Americans that matched the theme of the State of the Union Address to join them in her viewing box. This year, three Latino students were among those joining First Lady Michelle Obama. One of them was featured in President Obama's address: “Estiven Rodriguez couldn't speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age 9. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates — through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors — from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications,” Obama said. Rodriguez will attend Dickinson College in Pennsylvania on a full scholarship.

Following the State of the Union address, the WHIEEH held its first Twitter chat. Staff answered questions about a range of programs and initiatives and how the Administration is supporting postsecondary completion for Hispanics.

WHIEEH Twitter Chat

2014 Summits on Educational Excellence for African Americans

In honor of Black History Month, here is opportunity from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans:

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and Ebony Magazine are proud to present, “The 2014 Summits on Educational Excellence for African Americans.


1. Raising awareness about the importance of investing in African American Educational Excellence to ensure African American students, schools, and communities are supported in learning and development opportunities beginning at birth;

2. Highlighting individuals and organizations who are successfully supporting African American educational excellence; and

3. Supporting community engagement by creating opportunities for parents, grandparents, guardians and caring adults to increase the number of African American’s who graduate from high school prepared for future success.

Students at any age, birth through adulthood, deserve opportunities—opportunities afforded by a high-quality school experience that prepares them for careers with family sustaining wages and opportunities for advancement in the global 21st century workforce.

For more information visit  

For Full Summit Agendas, to Register or for Additional Information Visit:

Additional information and registration is available at


Roundtable Discussion on Hispanic Males

Latino Males Roundtable

On January 10th, the WHIEEH convened over 20 scholars and education professionals from across the country at the White House for a roundtable discussion on Hispanic Males and educational attainment. The discussion focused on the current state of young Hispanic males, the landscape of research, effective practices, and public policy that impact young Hispanic males, in an effort to identify and build on opportunities for advancing this work. In addition, forum participants recognized an urgency to act on this issue. WHIEEH will continue engaging with key stakeholders on this important issue throughout the year.


Education Summit for Parent Leaders

On January 13th, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) hosted an Education Summit for Parent Leaders, presenting on the urgent need to improve student achievement and close persistent achievement gaps. "Parents have the power to challenge educational complacency here at home," Secretary Duncan said in his keynote address. "Parents have the power to ask more of their leaders—and to ask more of their kids and themselves. And all of those will be vital in a time when we are losing ground [on national and international assessments]." The summit's web site offers a variety of materials, such as speaker slidedecks and videos, videos of students discussing pressing issues in education, and an extensive resources page.


Education Datapalooza

Education Datapalooza

On January 15th, the WH and ED hosted the second Education Datapalooza. The event focused on innovation and highlighted products, apps, websites and other tools that help students enroll and complete college, as well as improve teaching and learning. More information on Education Datapalooza and the Education Data Initiative can be found here


Expanding College Opportunity

President Obama at College Opportunity Summit

On January 16, the President and First Lady announced over 100 new commitments to expand college opportunity. This followed the President's call to action in connecting more low-income students to the right colleges, increasing the pool of students preparing for college via early intervention, greater access to college advising and test preparation and strengthening remediation. The chart below details the roadmap for how these commitments are expanding college opportunity for everyone.

College opportunity Plan

Making Progess on ConnectED

ConnectED Fact sheet

On February 4, President Obama announced that the Federal Communications Commission will invest $2 billion over the next two years to expand high-speed internet connectivity for America's schools and libraries. In addition, he announced a commitment of over $750 million from private sector companies to deliver cutting-edge technologies to classrooms. These investments will help ensure that 99 percent of students have access to high-level internet by 2017.


Turbotax and Loan Repayment Options

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Treasury and Intuit, Inc., this tax-filing season, a banner will be featured on TurboTax software informing users the various options they have in repaying their federal student loans. The banner will link to the online Repayment Estimator, where users are able to determine if they could lower their monthly student loan program through an income-driven repayment plan. This collaboration is another step of ED's commitment to make college more affordable.


Ending Sexual Assault

To tackle the alarming rate of sexual assualt on college campuses, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum to establish a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. A report issued by the White House Council on Women and Girls -- “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” -- reveals one in five women and one in 71 men have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes.  The task force, which will include Secretary Duncan, is charged with sharing best practices and increasing transparency, enforcement, public awareness, and interagency coordination to prevent violence and support survivors.  It builds on federal efforts already underway which seek to break devastating cycles of violence on campuses and around the country.

Throughout February, the Task Force will be hosting numerous listening sessions. The listening sessions are designed to allow as many people as possible to share their stories and input. The Task Force is looking for concrete and creative ideas about how schools can prevent sexual assault, and how they can better respond when it happens – both in terms of supporting survivors and holding offenders accountable


Upcoming Opportunities

Below are upcoming grant, internship and fellowship opportunities:

The National Association of Social Insurance (NASI) has three internship programs --The Washington Internship on Social Insurance, The Somers Aging and Long-Term Care Internship, The Nathan J. Stark Internship for Non-Profit Development, and The Eileen Sweeney Graduate Internship in Disability Policy– that offer a wide array of opportunities and a $3,500 stipend. Descriptions of the programs and the online application form are available on the individual internship pages and on NASI’s Internship Opportunities page. The deadline is March 1, 2014


The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families (“Center’) is pleased to announce a new Summer Research Fellowship program for 2014. In its inaugural year, the goal of the Summer Research Fellowship Program is to attract, develop, and expand the pool of emerging scholars focused on studying issues concerning low-income and vulnerable Hispanic children and families.  This 12-week program is open to those currently enrolled in an advanced graduate program (Master’s, Ph.D., or ABD - “all but dissertation”) and will provide graduate students with the opportunity to carry out policy-research in an applied setting, and in ways that can impact both policy and programs serving Hispanic children and families.  We currently are accepting applications for summer 2014 research fellowships.  Click here for more information on how to apply.  Due to the demand, be sure to submit your application by March 7th, 2014.


The National Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA) offers a unique internship program to current college students who participated in a Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Program. The NMSHSA Internship Program brings together the next generation of community leaders from across the country to work in Washington, D.C. The deadline is March 21, 2014. More information can be found at here.


The 2014 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is now accepting applications. The prizes are:

  • The David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) will be awarded to an organization that has made outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy levels and has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth and breadth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy.
  • The American Prize ($50,000) will be awarded to an organization that has made a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels or the national awareness of the importance of literacy.
  • The International Prize ($50,000) will be awarded to an organization or national entity that has made a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels. 

The program is accepting applications from now until the March 31, 2014, deadline. Visit to download the application and find further instructions.


The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is accepting applications for the SunShot Postdoctoral Research Awards. This support innovative solar research by offering recent Ph.D. recipients the opportunity to conduct applied R&D at universities, national laboratories, and other research facilities.

Award Highlights:

  • Yearly stipend with two years of support
  • Research and travel allowance
  • Health insurance
  • Relocation allowance


  • U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent resident status
  • Economics, Social Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, and Chemistry are just a few of the disciplines that may apply
  • Have a Ph.D. for no more than five years

Application Deadline: April 30, 2014

For more information and to apply, visit:

Bright Spots

We want to hear about what's working for Hispanic students in your schools and communities. We would like to feature them as Bright Spots: programs, leaders, schools, organizations, partnerships or models that address key education topics for Hispanics and are helping close the achievement gap – from cradle to career.

Check out this example about a great neighborhood school in Chicago, IL, that is working to close the achievement gap for its Hispanic students.

Please share these Bright Spots and send them to


Monthly Webinars

Our January webinar focused on student financial assistance. A representative from ED's Federal Student Aid office provided an overview of the recently launched financial aid toolkit. Our Bright Spot, uAspire, discussed their efforts to ensure all students have access to financial resources for college and provided tips on working with Hispanic students.

Our next webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19th at 2pm EST and will focus on the GED redesign.


Hispanic-Serving Institutions

HSIs interested in applying for ED's Fiscal Year 2014 Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant competition, must submit an application and be designated as an eligible institution. The deadline for the eligibility application is March 7th, 2014.


School Improvement Grants

On January 27th, ED announced seven states that will receive more than $39 million to continue efforts to turn around their lowest-achieving schools through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.

Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,500 of the country's lowest-performing schools.


StopBullying.Gov Resources

The Training Center on provides valuable resources on bullying prevention research and best practices including user guides. The resources are in both English and Spanish.



TheDream.US program will offer scholarships to over 2,000 immigrant students who have received DACA status. They are offering scholarships up to $25,000 to cover tuition, fees, and books at one of their partner colleges. The deadline to submit an application is March 31, 2014.


Parent Guide for College and Career Success

It's never too early to begin preparing for success in college and careers. The guide provides parents with helpful tips to help support their children plan for college and a career, whether they are in elementary or in high school.


Student Voices on College Access and Affordability

Recently, Secretary Duncan met with a group of student experts for answers to the college accessibility, affordability, and completion challenges that the country faces. These students also identified key improvements to the college application process.

If you are a student, be part of the conversation by sending in your feedback regarding college access and affordability to


Arne and Teachers

Last month, Secretary Duncan spoke with Teacher Ambassador Fellows Joiselle Cunningham and Lisa Clarke regarding the role of private interests and public education. Catch the interview here.

You can comment on the video and keep the conversation going by using #AskArne on Twitter.


New NCES Report released

The "First Look" report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of 2002 high school sophomores 10 years later examines educational attainment, financial aid received and subsequent debt, income and financial indicators, workforce experiences, and civic engagement.

 For instance, only 18.7 percent of Hispanic sophomores graduated with a bachelor's degree or higher.


New Report on Doctorate Recipients

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics at the National Science Foundation released a new report, Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2012. This report calls to attention to the important trends in doctoral education. For instance, did you know that the proportion of doctorates awarded to Hispanics in 2012 was 6.5 percent?  


Building Tomorrow's STEM Workforce

On January 13, ED and NASA marked the successful completion of a pilot program to engage students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The recap summarizes the presentation of the successful student entries from the design competition.


Real World Design Challenge

The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual national competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to engage in real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams are challenged to solve a real world problem that confronts our nation's leading industries.  Teams from across the country work on the challenge and compete first for state recognition.  Each state winner is then invited to compete in the national event in Washington, D.C.  All software, training support, mentoring is provided at no cost to participating high schools. The deadline to sign up for the competition is February 21st.


WHIEEH Activities

On January 11th, Deputy Director Marco Davis was the keynote speaker for Teach for America's Entre Hermanos: A Critical Summit on the State of Latino Men in Education at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington, D.C.

Entre Hermanos summit photo

On January 27th, Executive Director Alejandra Ceja discussed the importance of early learning at the Hispanic community during the National Head Start Association Winter Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. 

Alejandra Ceja at NHSA Institute

On January 31st, Commissioner JoAnn Gama provided remarks on the Administration's education agenda, focusing on partnerships across the country and elevating what works for our Hispanic students at the Mexican-American School Board Association Annual Convention in McAllen, TX.


Internship Opportunity

WHIEEH Spring 2014 Interns

We would like to welcome our Spring 2014 Intern Class. This dynamic and diverse group of students have been hard at work at the Initiative.

If you are a student interested in education policy and how it impacts the Hispanic community, apply for our  Summer 2014 internship program. Click here for more information. Due to high demand, be sure to submit your application by March 15, 2014.

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